(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
If you attend Bethel, then it is important that you know what the Elders’ Board is prioritizing these days. Here are some of our focus areas.
This year, the Elders’ team consists of Steve Dickey (chair) Doug Brown (secretary) Roy Chan, Ron Dickey, Ewen Mackenzie, Eric Prost and me. As we move into the fall we are focusing our meetings around the question, “how do we make disciples?” Our priority is to make sure that, as people participate in the life of Bethel Church, they either come to faith and/or grow in that faith. Jesus made it pretty clear that disciple-making is the “what”, but the “how” can present some pretty interesting challenges - how do we measure spiritual growth? How do we know if someone who is part of the church is moving along in the right spiritual direction? Do we have the right tools in place? Where are our biggest gaps?
As a board we realize that this is one question for which Jesus will hold us accountable. It was clear in His commission, and so it needs to be prioritized in our mission. If you come to Bethel, you should care about this issue as well.
So as a board we will be studying this issue prayerfully and inviting others to join us as we think through the issues and execute a plan that will complement the Vision Pathway that we have already developed.
Some of you have heard me say that “partnerships extend the reach of the church”. That’s not original with me, by the way. I actually got it from Jamie Stinson… who got it from.... (there’s nothing new under the sun, right?) We certainly are experiencing the truth of that statement as we deepen and mature our existing partnerships. With respect to the City, one of our key partnerships is with the Salvation Army. On a national level, we partner with Constance Lake, and on a World level we partner with Honduras.
This fall, all the chair people of our partnerships will be meeting together to discuss the health and progress that our partnerships are making. As a board, it is not our desire to micro-manage these partnerships, but to monitor and prayerfully support these key relationships.
3. CORPORATE WORSHIP EXPERIENCE
We are very excited about looking into the possibilities of birthing a third service. If you have been around Bethel long enough, you will know that we experience “the bounce” - we hit the ceiling of growth then bounce down a bit then bounce back up. This is typical in church scenarios where the church is 80%-or-more filled each Sunday. Again, the board is not micro-managing this but is allowing me to pull together a team that will investigate the “how, when and where” of this issue. If you are interested in this issue please talk to me.
Finally, a key area of focus is the stewardship issue. We continue to prayerfully look for a treasurer to handle a growing budget. We also realize that the days of just updating the church on our finances by posting it in our bulletin and… voilà! The money appears… are over. As we continue to push forward on the vision, our finances need to keep pace or we will find ourselves bogged down by a lack of resources.
We have realised that many give generously, while others, for whatever reason, are not as faithful in this area. For the church to go forward this stewardship issue must be addressed. So our game plan is to put together a finance team that will be able to look at systemic issues regarding giving at Bethel and put a long-term plan in place to help our people be good stewards of their cash resources.
So in closing let me list some other things that are going on at Bethel:
- We have two new interns this fall, Tom Desloges and Joe Popma. Tom will be working with Fred in youth ministry. Joe will be working with me in the areas of discipleship and the third service.
- Our Adopt-a-Student Ministry that is headed up by Fred Grendel has 56 students registered in it this year! We are grateful for the many “parents” who have gotten involved in this program. It can be a great encouragement to our students.
- We had 56 (yes, a popular number) out to our Leadership Community event on Sept 23. At this event we looked at the values that define the kind of culture we are attempting to shape at Bethel. Our values are Teamwork, Excellence, Authenticity, Relevance and Solidarity
- Bill Duffy continues to be part of our staff. Bill is a senior who has never learned the word “retire”! I am personally grateful for that. Please don’t let him know the word exists. He continues to make contacts in the church, visit, and help people connect into Bethel.
- Our Ellel partnership continues to grow. There were around 90 in attendance for the September module, whose theme was on “fear”.
- Pray for the staff as we head off for the two-day Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Oct 18-19th, in Ottawa. This is an event I have been attending for about 15 years and is one of the best conferences on the best practices of leadership.
- We have about 16 small groups running this fall. That means we have room for about 200 people in small groups. If you are interested in going to the next level in community please contact me at email@example.com
I encourage you to continue to contribute to the team. Great churches are, first and foremost, Christ-centered, Biblically-rooted, and Spirit-empowered. Great churches are also filled with people that understand that it takes a team, not a solo leader, to build a dynamic church. For God’s sake be part of the team, and let’s see Bethel continue to move in a direction that builds His kingdom!
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org